February 2009 Archives
So, I'm sure most of you know, but The Curious Case of Benjamin Button took a couple VES Awards as well as the Oscar for Visual Effects over the weekend! The team did some great work. Congratulations! Since then, TED has decided to put up their talk of Ed Ulbrich discussing the work behind it. Check it out here. Some great insightful stuff. I didn't get a chance to work on the film, so a lot of what he discusses at TED are things that I wasn't aware of either.
Lots of great, great stuff coming out from the past. Here's something from the Gila Flats Incident in 1959. Do you want to see the rest of these journalist entries that have been unearthed? Check out The New Frontiersman flickr page. There's also compelling video of the Keene Act on Youtube.
On a side note, I'm pretty impressed with the way this is coming together. A woven and deep storyline, compelling characters, and a great alternate history. I'm crossing my fingers.
Yesterday I picked up a new gadget, a Flip minoHD pocket camcorder. It's pretty slick! 1280x720p at 30fps progressive. It's got great picture quality for a flash based camcorder the size of cell phone! One of the biggest drawbacks is the CMOS sensor. It has the same problem that the ATC-1000 had when I reviewed it a couple of years ago. While the sensor in this is VERY MUCH improved, it still retains some the signature skewing on quick pans and jumps. I'm very sensitive to this sort of sensor, I don't think the general public will pick up on it unless you're really looking for it. However, it is definitely not as bad as the skewing on the ATC-1000 from 2005. I uploaded a 9 minute Youtube video, check it out if you have a spare 9 minutes to watch my commute to work (yes, my commute is around 9 minutes, with stops for traffic lights). Unfortunately, I don't know how to upload HD into youtube (or I did and it's not selectable), I thought it would automatically recognize 720p footage, but alas, no such luck. So I'm uploading a shorter version to Vimeo, that might show what's going on better.
-30fps progressive capture
-Very easy UI
-records H.264 for video and AAC for audio
-easy software to use for trimming, uploading and sharing videos
-digital zoom (up to 2x)
-non upgradable flash RAM (4GB) records up to 60mins of video
Here's an Ars Technica review of the camcorder, much lengthier and in-depth, with HD videos.
VFXWages is still in a holding pattern right now. We're hoping to release at least the live version of the site to our current private beta members for feedback, and for them to get excited about it again. As of right now, we have a little over 1100 registered users, but definitely not as many wages from those users. The new update to the site will contain more directions and descriptions on how to use the site, so I hope we'll see more data entered. The company has now been formed as of January 22,2009 in the State of California as Industry Wages Incorporated, dba VFXWages. We've still got some paperwork to go through, signing corporate election forms, setting up bank accounts, and so forth. It's a lot of work to do while I'm still working 14 hours a day in my regular job.
Did you catch the Superbowl? Did you see the Joe trailer? And a bunch of other cool trailers were out there, Transformers 2, Star Trek, nice. Unfortunately, one of my shots did not make it into the trailers, but that's the way it goes. We've been working pretty diligently since the beginning of the year to hit all our deadlines.. Joe comes out in August, a ways away, but we're almost done.
Lots of things have happened since I last wrote. First things first. VFXWages is almost there. We've been done with the updates and bug fixes and the like that we want for the last several weeks, and right now we're waiting for the company formation paperwork to go through. I want to publicly thank my programmer/database guy that's helping me with this monumental undertaking, Brandon. He's tossed some great ideas into the site, and helped make the dream a reality. Cheers buddy! In the next several weeks, hopefully much sooner, you'll see a brand new interface for VFXWages, making it easier to find out the going rates for the industry of your choice, as well as still add your salary anonymously. I'm also preparing a PR release to coincide with the inauguration of the public beta. This will hopefully happen the month of February, and I'll most likely announce it here first, then on the VFXWages news feed, and onward. For those wondering, yep, I've got a comprehensive business plan in place, and we're hitting our marks.
Second thing, I've started tweeting.. Sure, I'm a little confused as to what exactly I might twitter about, so it contains a bunch of different things I'm doing at various times of the day. If you're that interested, go ahead and follow me. I don't have a fancy schmancy iPhone to constantly twit from, but hey, I'm on a computer for close to 14 hours a day anyway. There's always a way for me to reach out!
And last, the VES VFX voting is underway! There's a ton of great work in the final four of each category. It's very tough to make a final decision at times! Luckily this year the VES is providing us with a plethora of different streams and codecs to ease the viewing. QT HD and streaming as well as WMV. We've got another week or so for voting, I'm about halfway done or so. The behind the scenes are pretty nice, and it's a shame that most people won't see them!